Introducing an unknown, foreign-built boat brand to the U.S. market takes moxie due to the dominance currently enjoyed by the established American and European builders. But judging by the many double takes the Okean 50 Flybridge Motor Yacht receives, this new brand from Brazil might have the “curb appeal” to pull it off.
The story of how the Okean brand was born illustrates how small the global yachting industry has become. A few years ago, Brazilian boat builder Nercio Fernandez, whose shipyard is located in Guarujá in the state of São Paulo, was introduced by his sister to Italian yacht designer Paolo Ferragni, whose portfolio includes models for Baia and Aguz Marine. The new Okean Motor Yacht series is the result of the international collaboration between Fernandez and Ferragni.
While the Okean 50’s design reflects contemporary Italian styling, it’s influenced by an open-air lifestyle that’s favored in Brazil. For example, the galley is located in the main deck’s port aft corner where it’s just as convenient to serve the aft-deck dining area as it is the salon.
HMY Yachts, the exclusive distributor for the Okean brand in North America, brings to the table not only 36 years of experience selling boats to U.S. yachtsmen, but also a full-service network and mobile technicians. Okean’s builder provides the warranty on its boats, but HMY stands behind it. This should help to raise U.S. consumer confidence in the brand.
HMY’s Okean Brand Manager Arthur Grin flew to Brazil to do a full evaluation of an early Okean 50. This included sleeping and showering on board. Convinced of its comfort and construction quality (the boat is laid up utilizing carbon fiber and closed-cell PVC core via resin-infusion), he reported his favorable findings to HMY, which officially committed to Okean in February 2017. “When we decided all things lined up—we liked the design; we liked the fit and finish—we decided to go for it,” Grin said.
Ferragni designed a semi-displacement hull for the Okean 50 that delivers what the manufacturer calls “Duo Mode” performance—excellent fuel efficiency, especially in full-displacement mode, combined with a speed of up to 25 knots. My sea trial of the boat on the ICW south of Ft. Lauderdale proved that it has a smooth and stable ride even with the optional Seakeeper switched off.
Thanks to the boat’s wraparound windshield, large windows and sliding glass doors, the driver has 360-degree visibility around the boat. Companions can sit nearby on the L-shaped salon settee. The carbon-fiber helm station features a “glass cockpit” with two monitors that incorporate both the Garmin navigation suite and ship management system.
The interior décor throughout the Okean 50 is casual but elegant, with rich wood and leather accents. A spiral staircase leads down to the lower deck, which is comprised of three staterooms and two heads. This brings me to customization: While the Okean 50 is a production model, Grin says the shipyard will work with customers to personalize their individual boat’s décor and soft goods.
The flybridge, which is equipped with a full upper helm, offers a large wraparound seating area, fold-out dining table and optional wet bar with sink and refrigerator. The dinghy is carried on the swim platform, which leaves more room for entertaining and sunning aloft. The stairs to the flybridge are wide and angled for ergonomic comfort. —Louisa Beckett
Okean Yachts, 561-855-0333; hmy.com/okean
Displ.: 42,600 lbs.
Fuel: 422 gal.
Water: 185 gal.
Std. Power: 2/435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600
Opt. Power: 2/425-hp Cummins V-Drive QSB6.7
Base Price: $1,144,500